We all know the Scripture in Psalm 37:4 that says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Many so-called Christian doctrines have stemmed from this Scripture with the interpretation that God wants us to have all the “material possessions” that make us happy. And the truth is, God will give us the desires of our heart—but are material possessions the intent of this Scripture?
The key to knowing what God means is to know what the “desires of our heart” are, and so we begin with the heart. People of the world condone the things of the world, respond to them favorably, and approve of them and crave for them. Material possessions are their god and it’s what they live for. They do not see God as the Heavenly Father, Creator, Lord, Messiah or King. But when a person comes to Jesus, repents of his or her sins, turns from the world and asks Jesus to live in their heart as Lord, Savior and King, then their heart no longer responds favorably to the things of the world because it sees only Jesus. So when people claim to be Christians and use the Scriptures only to meet the desires of their flesh, then they have been deceived and don’t know God at all.
People of the world are taught to seek after material possessions as a reward for their own diligence, but Christians have a different reward. Our life is not about “me” or what “I” can accomplish. We don’t quote Scriptures to try to get things that will make “me” happy. As God’s children, we need to want what God wants, and we pray according to God’s will.
And we can only know God’s will when we know God! We do this by studying the Bible prayerfully and getting His truth down into our heart. The more we read and pray, the closer we are drawn to Him and the more we begin to see His heart and understand His will for us, His children. And then because we love Him, we want to pray for His will to be done—not ours! And the closer we get to Him, the more we praise Him and worship Him and delight to be in His presence.
King David said that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He grants us the desires of our heart. And since our heart is molded after God’s heart, and His will has become our will, and since our desires are the same as His, then He will give us what we ask for.
The desires that we pray for are not our needs because we know that God will supply all of our needs. These prayers are for our desires—the things that will bring us great joy because they give God great joy.
- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.—Psalm 122:6
- Pray for your enemies, for those who hurt you and abuse you.—Luke 6:28
- Pray that God will send laborers to the lost so they can be saved.—Matthew 9:38
- Pray for the sick.—James 5:15
- Pray for one another.—James 5:16
- Pray that God will work through you to bless others.—Mathew 25:40
- Pray for those in authority (government leaders).—I Timothy 2:1-2
We pray for the salvation and needs of others, and as well, we can still pray for our own personal desires because God told us that if we ask for anything in prayer and believe that He’ll give it to us, then we’ll receive it—Matthew 21:22. God loves to bless His children just as any earthly father loves to bless his children. And God will give us whatever makes us happy if it is received as a “blessing” from Him. He knows our heart, and if this blessing brings us joy and is always secondary to our love for Him, then God will give us even the material desires of our heart.
The Christian objective should never be to seek after God’s hand to meet their own personal and selfish desires, but instead, should be to seek God’s face to know Him, love Him and serve Him with their whole being—1 Chronicles 16:11. When our desires please the Lord, then we know that God will grant us those desires because our treasure is not in the things He blesses us with, but in the souls of others who are blessed because of us.—Matthew 6:19-21.
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